Almost two hours bus journey up the valley from Sumur, Panamic, a dusty hamlet overlooked by the pin point summit of Charouk Dongchen, marks the most northerly point in India accessible to tourists. Buses stop between the hot springs and the only guesthouse, just over 1-km short of the village proper, where cobbled alleys weave between houses, prayer wheels and thorny scrubs to riverside barley fields. Splitting into wide rivulets at this point, the sapphire Nubra seems shallow and tame.
The Hot Springs & Ensa Gompa
After a cleansing trip to the hot springs, where two rooms each have a deep tub filled with piping hot sulphurous water, where's little to do in Panamic other than walk. A dot on the mountainside across the river, Ensa Gompa makes an obvious excursion. The route, three hours each way, passes through the village and crosses a bridge beyond the vast boulder field 3-km upstream, then joins a wide jeep track above the river for 3-4km.
The final haul up a precipitous gorge hides the Gompa from view until you stumble upon it, couched in an unexpected valley of willow and poplar trees fed by a perennial sweet water stream. Though the Gompa is usually locked, the views from rows of crumbling Chortens nearby make the climb worthwhile. However, if one of the few semi resident monks is there, one will be shown inside to see the old wall paintings in the temples, and the footprint of Tsong-kha-pa, allegedly imprinted at this spot when he journeyed from Tibet to India in the 14th century.
All buses passing through Sumur originate from or terminate in Panamic.